Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

Agreement provides outside care for veterans who can't get prompt appointments, along with funds to hire new medical staff and lease new clinics
Associated Press
Jul 28, 2014


A bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays, the bill's chief supporters said Monday.

The agreement includes $10 billion in emergency spending to make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with Veterans Affairs doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees said.

The bill also would expand a scholarship program for veterans to include surviving spouses of military members who died in the line of duty, allow all veterans to qualify for in-state college tuition, and grant the Veterans Affairs secretary authority to immediately fire senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights.

The bill "makes certain that we address the immediate crisis of veterans being forced onto long waiting lists for health care," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs panel. The bill also "strengthens the VA so that it will be able to hire the doctors, nurses and medical personnel it needs so we can permanently put an end to the long waiting lists," Sanders said at a news conference with Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., his House counterpart.

Miller said the bill would "go a long way to resolve the crisis" that is gripping the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency has been rocked by reports of patients dying while awaiting treatment and mounting evidence that workers falsified or omitted appointment schedules to mask frequent, long delays. The resulting election-year firestorm forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in late May.

Sanders and Miller reached agreement on a plan to reform the VA over the weekend after more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks.

The compromise measure would require the VA to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can't get prompt appointments at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics, or those who live at least 40 miles from one of them. The bill would limit the number of veterans who can get outside care by restricting it to those who are enrolled as of Aug. 1.

The proposed restrictions are important in controlling costs for the program. Congressional budget analysts had projected that tens of thousands of veterans who currently are not treated by the VA would likely seek VA care if they could see a private doctor paid for by the government.

The deal requires a vote by a conference committee of House and Senate negotiators, and votes in the full House and Senate.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama welcomes the bipartisan deal. "There are much-needed reforms that need to be implemented" at the VA, Earnest said.

The White House is especially pleased that the bill includes emergency spending "to provide VA the additional resources necessary to deliver timely, high-quality care to veterans through a strengthened VA system," Earnest said.

An updated audit by the VA this month showed that about 10 percent of veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics still have to wait at least 30 days for an appointment. About 46,000 veterans have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments, the report said, and an additional 7,000 veterans who asked for appointments over the past decade never got them.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson has said the VA is making improvements, but said veterans in many communities still are waiting too long to receive needed care. The VA provides health care to nearly 9 million enrolled veterans.

The House and Senate are set to adjourn at the end of the week until early September, and lawmakers from both parties have said completing a bill on veterans' health care is a top priority.

The Senate is expected to vote this week to confirm former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new VA secretary, replacing Gibson.



Oh look another 65 billion goes to wall street. Come on Libtards throw yourself under the bus, Your god needs you!

The Big Dog's back

done again, what's it like to be a moron?


Your the one that supports this admin, You tell me.



What would Alex Jones do ?

(Ask your mother for your comeback)


@ Pig-Dog: "What's it like to be" part sausage?


Wondering what Donegan has to say about the fact that the Senate GOP sunk a bill in February 2014 that would have expanded Veterans benefits. Rather short memory, huh...

Incidentally, Donegan also used YOUR instead of YOU'RE, apparently declining the opportunity to prove that he is not a moron.

Whenever I see a political comment rife with poor spelling, poor grammar and/or poor punctuation, 9 times out of 10, it's an undereducated Republican. If literacy tests were required to vote, most teabaggers would be ineligible.



Darwin's choice

Once again, the "bill" you constantly quote to was so loaded with democrat pork, that it was laughed at!!!

But, keep trying obamabot, since azzholes are allowed to vote, you're still eligible!


The Big Dog's back

goof/durwood, you keep saying that but offer nothing from the bill to substantiate your blather.


"since azzholes are allowed to vote"

--You fit that description , Darwin's douche bag.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What do you do with political commentary that is rife with a lack of citation and blatant partisanship? Just curious.


I have not read through the bill so i could not say why they sunk that bill. Unlike you i like to know what is in the bill before signing on to anything because a politician say so.
You assume much about me and that is typical of a progressive liberal who when cannot answer for their own always attacks the opposition with personal attacks. 85 billion a month is being handed out by this admin, Why aren't you complaining? Why aren't you picketing in a park? You'll just re-elect the same old worn out party because you are told to and do not have the brains to try something different. A prime example of a useful idiot.
BTW Your is used rightly, It is possesive. Read it again buttercup.


Rightly? Lol


coasterfan says "Whenever I see a political comment rife with poor spelling, poor grammar and/or poor punctuation, 9 times out of 10, it's an undereducated Republican. If literacy tests were required to vote, most teabaggers would be ineligible."

Coaster as I had posted in a previous topic a few days ago I did read in one of my past issues of the "Mensa Research Journal" that advises research indicates that persons of higher IQ's tend to have political preferences that lean to the conservative side and are less likely to be liberal.

If you have a better source or you in fact know better then you should contact Mensa and advise them that they are wrong .


Re: "undereducated Republican."

Typical off-topic blather of arguing form over substance.




1) Veterans - shouldn't be capitalized. The word is capitalized when it is part of a title (e.g., Veterans' Day or Veterans' Administration).
2) Donegan correctly used your; you're the one who has the poor grammar.
3) You need a comma after "poor grammar." Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.
4) There is no need for a comma after "punctuation."

Normally, I cringe when other people point out grammar or spelling errors, because I think it is a really petty mentality. Some of the brightest business owners I know don't have their Strunk and White all the time. You, however, just invited it with your comments. BTW- I know several "tea baggers" who have earned advanced degrees. You're obviously the one with the myopia. I find reading and getting out and meeting real people help with your condition.

The Big Dog's back

Well, if you agree with done again's use of grammar, you just might be a right wingnut too.


You're actually kind of funny; an adult who's elected to keep his IQ at 10. Why not get out in the fresh air; it might help with your condition.


Pig-Dog is just our lil' breakfast sausage.


youd like some sausage in your arse.

Dr. Information

Come on Dog, heart got this kid....get those swiss miss rolls out. Don't let us down.


Dr. Information....have a heart attack.


You are a music teacher moron. Get over yourself. You blow a freaking horn, you aren't a spell checker.


Re:"Oh look another 65 billion goes to wall street. Come on Libtards throw yourself under the bus, Your god needs you!"

Yes he does talk in negative terms about the top 1% to appease the large numbers of middle and lower class voters however the 1% really does not care what he may say about them as much as his actions to keep the market going strong. You must remember that when he goes on his weekly fund raising trips that it is with the top 1% and he takes care of them and they support him.

yea right

Take it from their travel funds.


Let the Veteran's see their own doctors and use their own hospitals....BILL THE VA. No need to build special hospitals or lease clinics. Yes, I understand the need for some specialist that cater to the military and some actual VA hospitals/campuses, but why not just let Veterans see their own doctors and just bill the appropriate departments? We see how well they have been running it so far, and how well they run Medicare/Medicaid.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It was quite refreshing to see that Congress unanimously voted that single payer health care was an abusive, wasteful, and harmful practice. That's just with the small number of veterans we have versus the entire population of the country. It seems to have been the one thing that both major parties could agree on. I'll take that as a sign of true progress and an indication they will seek something better than what we have now.


Let's see......we have VA, ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and I do not know what other types of systems out there. Hero, I know you like sources but I researched this much over the past 10 years. There are too many sources that basically say the same thing. The health care system in the US is near the bottom in most metrics. There is one that is the highest and that is cost per person. So, we get near the worst health care and pay the most. That needs fixing.
So, is a single payer system the best? Most other industrialized countries which have better health care for their citizens have some form of single payer.
The government throwing money to the VA is not the best idea. If is an impotent government acting like they are coming to the rescue when they are only prolonfing the agony. Fix the system and quit throwing money at a broke system.


Re: "Most other industrialized countries which have better health care for their citizens have some form of single payer. other industrialized countries."

A specious argument comparing mostly homogeneous societies with sm. populations.

The U.S. is composed of over 300 million racially and ethnically diverse peoples.

If the EU had one single payer health care plan, the comparison would be more accurate.


Re: "The health care system in the US is near the bottom in most metrics."

Then why do some of the world leaders still come to the U.S. for surgery and health care?

Pres. of Cleveland Clinic once said:

70% of the U.S.' health care issues are caused by 3 things:

obesity &
lack of exercise.

Until those are controlled and contained, getting a 'handle' on heath care costs and outcomes will be difficult.

The Big Dog's back

You're "suppose" to be smart. Answer that question yourself. Are they going into Firelands? How about Magruder? Maybe Memorial hospital down in Fremont.


@ Pig-Dog:

So where'd you go for your sausage transplant? Hormel?

The Big Dog's back

Gee, how did I know you wouldn't answer the question. C'mon, tell us where they go.


Re: "Gee,"

Non-sequitur. Those are all lousy hospitals?

So where'd you go for your sausage implant?

The Big Dog's back

Answer the question.


Re: "question,"

Couldn't think for yourself eh, porky?

Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, et. al.

So where'd you get your sausage implant, piggy?

Awaiting the usual non-answer....

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The point of my comment was that government can't hope to run a single payer system nationally if it can't even handle a smaller number of people in each of the programs above. As Contango mentioned, this isn't a small European country of a few millions people who share mostly the same geography and genetics. Copying Europe would be inappropriate, I believe. But I am not against the call for reform you mention. I am open-ended to many options, however giving control of this vital service to a government that needs to be shaken awake to feed mashed potatoes to isn't my idea of reform.

4-wheeler al

all of you needs too put a uniform on, and come back shot or leg or a arm gone and try to get the right med. treatment needed. iam veteran for over 40 years with service connected injury. family doctor and er docs. will not touch a service connected injury.30 days to see a doctor at wade park or longer. Go to er with your service connected problem they put you in va emt vehicle sent you to wade park.


That is not right. It would seem to me that you, and all Americans, deserve good health care whether injured in combat or not. You should be able to get good care locally and not have to go to a VA institution only.


Re: "all Americans, deserve good health care whether injured in combat or not."

And you would accomplish this goal of universal "good health care" how?


I've never had to wait more than a week to get into Wade Park. I've never had to wait more than a day or two to get into the local VA clinic.

4-wheeler al

service connected injury 100 per cent paid. that's the problem. Years ago sent me a doctor here in in town for some treatment and they got the bill next time back at wade park. Its about the cost between doctors and the V.A. last operation I had 8000.00 in wade park and down here about 22000.00 dollars in Sandusky. Its all about the money. Why we need a nation wide health care.


Re: "$17 billion to fix the health program,"

Cheap SOBs!

FREE programs cost money. 'Round' it up to $100 billion.

Contact Fed Chair Yellen and have her 'print' those electrons. Just put it on the Fed's tab.

To h*ll with the debt-to-GDP ratio!


The Big Dog's back

Another dumb comment by the deuce pooh.


"Another dumb comment by" pork sausage.


If you're going to disagree with someone, present your evidence instead of using the 10 IQ play of name-calling. Do you have conversations with your dog because that is about the intelligence level you project; no insults to dogs intended.

The Big Dog's back

Which comment genius?


Look at my comment below, doggie dog. Yes, compared to you, I am a genius. There's hope for everyone, however! Talk a walk, laugh a little, don't take yourself too seriously, and meet some people who don't always agree with you. It will help with your condition.


My comment was aimed to Big Dog and his dogs.